I grew up in Texas. My people got there around 1850. One of my best friends growing up was my Grandpa, Cecil T. Graham. I got a truck when I was 15 and Grandpa and I would drive around Texas together. He was a roughneck for Texaco and the family moved from town to town. He would show me where they lived and the old homeplaces (if they were still standing).
One day he took me to the house his dad built in 1895. This is one of those houses you would see downtown but it was in the middle of the country. A big two story house. He told me how he tried to buy if from his Mother but she wouldn't do it. He wished he owned it and now I really wished I owned it. It was torn down in 1985.
Anyway, while we were at that house he told me he and his brother would walk the railroad tracks to town and he always carried the handle from a wash tub with him. "Why?", I asked, "because we would raise Billy Hell and I'd have to hit those city boys. One hit with that wash tub handle in my fist and they would usually go out".
I always thought "raising Billy Hell" was a cool term and never heard anyone use it other than him. My big plan was to have a rock band called Billy Hell but I ended up being in a rock band called St. Christopher in L.A.
So one day I was signing on to this new RC forum and had to pick a user name. Billy Hell was the one I picked. I'm am called Billy now as often as I am called my real name. Funny how things turn out.
When I was 15 I had my drivers license. My Dad was busy running his IH truck dealership so I spent a lot of time with my Grandpa. He was born in 1904 to a farmer and most of my family were rough necks for Texaco in the Texas oil fields. The movie "The Last Picture Show" was shot in the town my Grandpa grew up in. I would pick him up and he would show me places no one else in the family knew. He showed me the Graham cemetary in the middle of nowhere full of my kin, he show me his first house in the middle of nowhere and pointed out each tree he had planted when one of his kids were born, he would show me where "haints" were known to hang around (ghosts). He took me to a two story house that his Dad had built for them in 1880. It was in the middle of farmland. In the smoke house were bricks that his Dad made and on one of the bricks it had scratched in it "Cecil 1914". I still have that brick and I still think of my Grandpa a lot. Every now and then I will be having a dream and in that dream will be someone trying to get my attention. I have had people in the dream jump up and down pointing at someone or people waving me over. Ultimately they are pointing at my Grandpa. When we see each other we hug and usually cry. Then we talk about what's going on. So really I haven't lost my Grandpa, he still finds me sometimes.
I think about my grand dad the old farmstead in the hills around the Des Moines River back in Iowa. I tried like hell to buy a piece of ground from it, but didn't have the means.
I never really got to know him that well, Parkinson's and Alsheimer's got him before I was old enough. I really only got to know him through the fields, hill, and hollers that were his, and I wish were mine.
I hope that the life I've made would make him proud, but I've never had any dreams about him... I think it might be because we never got to know each other. I still own the last car he ever owned, a '68 Pontiac Bonneville that I'm trying to restore.
Yeah, I believe that those we were close to can visit us in altered states. Maybe I listen to too much Coast to Coast AM (www.coasttocoastam.com)
Keep telling the stories of your grand dad, Billy. I for one love to hear 'em.
Wow dude my grandpa was like that too I grew up fishing with him and he tought me alot about life and who I should be. one of his moms favorite saying was "Son we all tend to fuck up once an agin". He was from lou's urn kentucky in the hills. Aw dude I'm getting all remenicent.
Gotta go thanks for the memories...................